Archive for the ‘ Editorial ’ Category

Vogue UK April 2008 – “About A Boy”

When it comes to androgynous style in fashion, few could do it as well as Freja. In fact, androgyny became Freja’s signature look for several years until her hair grew long again.

The genesis for Freja’s androgynous look began in late 2007 when she appeared at the Spring/Summer 2008 season with a newly shortened haircut. It wasn’t until April 2008 however, when she emerged in two editorials in Vogue UK (the latter being “A Stroke Of Genius”, shot by Paolo Roversi) that the look began to take off.

One look at this and it’s easy to see why. From its basic premise, Freja takes the masculine styling of this editorial to new heights. Alternating between brooding and swagger, her poses are charged with an energy that is decidedly masculine. The expression of this masculine energy extends to Freja’s hands as well; in one shot we see one hand placed into a waistband; in another shot, a thumb looped into a pocket; in others she is playing with her quiffed hair.

However, the real key to the power within these images lies in Freja’s unyielding gaze – whether directed towards the viewer or not, it is a powerful expression of strength and poise – Freja is no shrinking violet here, nor anywhere for that matter. All of these elements express themselves most powerfully in the 5th shot – Freja is slightly reclined, jacket and shirt open, daring the viewer to challenge the validity of her expression of masculinity, with just enough vulnerability to take one’s breath away.

This editorial set a precedent for Freja to be styled in an androgynous way in the years following (for better or worse) but few come as close to greatness as this. In my mind this editorial is as powerful and seductive as Helmut Newton’s iconic “Le Smoking”.

It’s beautiful to watch in motion too:


Harper’s Bazaar US March 2008 – “Brights”

(this review by special request)

In this editorial gem, Sølve Sundsbø imbues stately gowns with movement and lightness. Beautiful jewel-toned gowns are blown about, showcasing the sheer voluminous fabrics used in their making, with Freja’s dark features and long limbs providing a well-needed anchor for the clothes.

This juxtaposition of the lightness of the clothes and serious looks from Freja create an ethereal sense of beauty, with Freja depicted as a sophisticated, almost goddess-like figure. Set against the stark white background, Cortina’s restrained styling lets the gowns and Freja shine. The background beautifully frames the shapes created by the movement of the gowns and gives the images a further sense of timelessness.

This is a stunning editorial from beginning to end – it’s no wonder that one of the images from this editorial was chosen by Glenda Bailey to cover Harper’s Bazaar’s Greatest Hits book:

hb gh cover freja

(with thanks to noirfacade.livejournal for the editorial images without text)

Vogue US November 2011 – “Call In The Cavalry”

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World War I. A young man is reunited with his beloved horse. A beautifully dressed woman stares off into the distance. These two have little to do with each other in this flawed editorial that’s less of a movie tie-in (for the upcoming release of “War Horse”) and more of a thematic clutching at straws.

Visually, there’s a lot to love about the images – the sombre palette of grey/grey-blues, browns and greens evokes the melancholy mood of wartime, while the high-contrast lighting keeps the images crisp and dynamic. Grace Coddington’s choices of long skirts and sleeves (with little in the way of accessories) is consistent with the austere wartime theme, though the geometric patterned Balenciaga jumper appears glaringly out of place here – it worked better in “Midi Town”, Arizona’s Vogue UK August 2011 editorial.

However the biggest flaw of this editorial is with the direction of the two models. Granted, the film “War Horse” is centred around the story of a young man (played by Jeremy Irvine) and his horse, but Arizona is given too little to do here: is she supposed to play a woman who has lost a loved one in the war? The shot where she caresses the lapels of an army-green coat (by Dior) would have the viewer think so. The potential for this idea is never fully realised, and the lack of interaction between Arizona and Jeremy (save for one shot) leads me to conclude that we’re looking at two completely different editorials that happened to have been shot together.

Unfortunately the shortcomings of this editorial don’t stop there. The final shot of Arizona, dressed as a bride who knows her lover may never come home is rather stunning – until one realises that it looks almost the same as Sims’ own image for the current Alexander McQueen campaign.

Editorial shot:

Alexander McQueen F/W 2011-2012:

alexander mcqueen

This was the final disappointment for me in an editorial that seemed to have run out of ideas. While pretty to look at, it’s a thumbs down from me.

Vogue UK October 2011 – “Tech Mate”

This as far from last month’s Flemish painting inspired editorial as you can get – a futuristic, stark-white studio shoot by Patrick Demarchelier.

Here, the emphasis is on clean lines, sleek forms and bright, almost unnatural colours. By pairing the clothing with robotic toys (the Transformers!), Chambers playfully highlights the futuristic aspects of the clothing. There is a lovely rhythm between Freja and the robot props – the figure-hugging neoprene shorts emphasise Freja’s lean body, much like the utilitarian limbs of a robot which are designed for function. The strikingly elegant coats are reminiscent of the veneer of machines, while the bright colours of the Celine and Blumarine pieces add further emphasis on the likeness between Freja and the brightly coloured robots. The shoes and accessories are quite futuristic too.

While I wish Demarchelier was a little more adventurous with the angles of the photos, it’s still a very cute and playful editorial. A thumbs up from me!

Spur (Japan) April 2010 – “フライヤ、男前モデルの素顔”

(According to Google Translate, the title is “Flyer, handsome famous model”. Heehee.)

I hadn’t seen good quality scans of this editorial before, so I bought a copy of this issue and scanned it. For those who can’t read Japanese (myself included), a good translation of the article can be found here.

This shoot focuses on Freja’s personal style. No surprises here: black leather jackets (one by Balenciaga and the other by Rick Owens), skinny jeans and big boots.

Here, Freja plays herself. Instead of looking relaxed, Freja’s body language comes off rather guarded (sitting with a knee up to her chest in one image, crossed arms in another, hands thrust into pockets, hard gazes in other photos).

Freja’s guarded body language reminds me of an observation made in a Vogue UK article last year (August 2010): “Face to face, Freja’s personality is harder to discern. Although she embodies an intoxicating cool, she’s shy, reserved and defensive about her privacy in a way that doesn’t invite girly conversation.”

The author’s astute observation applies to this – despite being a relatively benign style article, the personal nature of it would probably make a private person like Freja a little defensive. Fair enough. Thankfully this is a nice article that doesn’t rock the boat.

W September 2011 – “Kapow!”

Bright colours, a myriad of textures and patterns and a mountain of accessories – this editorial is as explosive as the title, “Kapow!” implies. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes.

Shot at the Carlton Arms Hotel in NYC*, the setting provides the prefect backdrop of colour and texture to transport the viewer into a sumptuous world. This choice of setting is inspired – I would have never thought that the sequinned gypsy style of Roberto Cavalli could be paired so beautifully with Australian Aboriginal art (first image).

Both Sasha and Freja look like larger-than-life characters (especially in the eighth shot – Sasha resembles an Aztec god in full regalia). Their serious but relaxed looks save the images from being clownish and lend credibility to this excessive style. If anyone could pull off these looks walking down the street, it’s these two (and possibly Hanne-Gaby Odiele, whom I also love).

With so much going on, it’s amazing that these images are so wonderfully balanced – Sasha and Freja’s energetic poses, along with windswept hair and liberal flashes of bare flesh lighten up the heaviness of the clothes and the accessories. This balance of light and heavy keeps the images fresh and stimulating. I could look at these images all day and still find new details to catch the eye.

In short, this is an inspired editorial from Jane How and Mario Sorrenti. More please!

*as mentioned by “Guest” on fashiongonerogue

Vogue US March 2011 – “Punk’d”

(this review by special request)

I don’t have much more to add to Rrose’s review. I agree with her when she points out the fun nature of this editorial and the humour and expressiveness that Freja, Raquel and Arizona bring to it. If it wasn’t for those particular aspects then this editorial would be totally forgettable.

I’m not sure what Grace Coddington was thinking when the black shaggy wigs were decided upon, but they’re certainly not ‘punk’ – more of a high fashion idea of what the ‘punk’ aesthetic is. Plus jackets designed by Nicholas Ghesquiere aren’t exactly ‘punk’ either!

Once again, high fashion has tried to keep itself relevant by copying street trends and jacking up the price. Money creates taste, after all.*

Or perhaps the joke is on us, the desirers and potential buyers of said $2000 jackets and $1000 ripped (silk) shirts – the title is ‘Punk’d’!

In the end, it’s just another editorial in another magazine that’s expected to churn out hundreds of pages of new content per month – it can’t be expected that every page will be good.

*from artist Jenny Holzer

(with thanks to frejabeha.blogspot for the scans)